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CMI alters social media panel after cancellation

Former WTAE personality withdraws amid backlash from students, alumni

Written By Jordan Slobodinsky, Co-Opinions Editor

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The Center for Media Innovation (CMI) announced March 3 that former WTAE reporter Wendy Bell would no longer be headlining the upcoming Burgh 3.0 event.

“My staff and I organized this event. We went out and found a panel we thought would be appropriate to replace bell,” Conte said.

Bell was fired from her position at WTAE last year after posting racially insensitive comments on Facebook.

After a March 2016 shooting near Wilkinsburg that took the lives of five adults and an unborn baby, Bell made comments proposing that the shooting was due to the family’s African-American Heritage.

Since her dismissal from the station, Bell has started a weekly video series where she promotes positivity in what is called “Positively Wendy Bell,” and has also sued WTAE and has organized a legal team to advise her with any situation that may arise.

The attempt to bring Bell to campus was thwarted after Bell’s legal advisor said it was not good for her to participate in such an event, according to a story written by Dan Gigler of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It was announced on the CMI Facebook page on March 6 that Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-
Gazette, Julie Grant of
KDKA-TV and Oliver Schmidt of C4CS will be replacing Bell at the event.

This is an annual event that Point Park hosts and is intended to “focus on the power of social media and the free flow of information,” according to its Facebook page.

Replacement panelist Norman is a columnist and associate editor at the Post-Gazette according to p4pittsburgh.org.

Grant is a reporter and legal editor at KDKA, according to pittsburgh.cbslocal.com and Schmidt is an expert advisor for c4cs.com according to its website.

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